To the Founders and Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse-The #9/#12 ranked North Carolina Tarheels rallied in the second half to beat the #15 ranked Fairfield Stags by a 10-9 final score. The game was played in 45 degree temperatures with rain at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, NC. The Stags had the opportunity to tie the game in the final minute plus of the game but the Stags only managed one shot that was saved by the North Carolina goal keeper. Both teams have a 2013 record of 2 wins and one loss after this contest.
Michael Roe returned to action to take the face off for the Stags and Tristian Sperry returned to the Fairfield attack. The Stags’ Michael Roe wins the opening face off and Sam Snow takes the first shot of the game but it is saved by the North Carolina goal keeper Kieren Burke. Fairfield’s Max Buchanan takes the first penalty of the game at 11:38 for pushing. The Stags defense kills the penalty with goal keeper Jack Murphy making a save. The teams for the first almost 9 minutes of the game are feeling each out team taking shots that are saved or miss the net and several turnovers. The Heels strike first with Senior Marcus Holman getting his first of five goals on the day scoring at 6:02 with an assist from Jake Matthai. On the ensuing face off, UNC’s face off specialist R.G. Keenan is called for a violation and the Stags take over on offense. Freshman TJ Neubauer scores for the Stags to make it a 1-1 game with an assist from Colin McLinden at 4:29 left in the first period. Carolina win the face off but the Stags’ defense is working hard and creates a UNC turnover. With 2:42 remaining in the period, the Stags’ Drew Federico hits the post and the Heels take over. UNC is offense and takes two shots that are saved by Murphy and one shot is blocked and the Stags’ Murphy picks up the ground ball and starts the clear with 53 seconds remaining. Coach Coplan calls time out with 34 seconds left. Can Coach Copelan draw up a play for the Stags to score with the time remaining the period? Do not have any stats but it is uncanny the number of times the Stags score coming out of a time out by Coach Copelan. With just 2 ticks left in the period, Sam Snow scores to make it a 2-1 ball game with Neubauer getting the assist.
On the face off to start the second period, UNC’s Keenan is called for a violation and Fairfield starts the period with the ball. Stags go into its offense set but turnover the ball after having possession for 90 plus seconds. The Tarheels take a quick shot but Murphy makes the save and starts the clear. In the span of about 2 minutes, Fairfield takes four shots, one saved by the NC goal keeper, two are wide and one was blocked by the defense. Finally UNC makes a clear and now set up their offense. They hit a post and a second shot is wide. NC’s Davey Emala scores with an assist from Holman at 9:36 to tie the game at 2-2. The Heels win the face off and take four shots. Murphy saves one, two are wide and the defense blocks one. But the fifth shot hits the back of the nets and UNC takes a 3-2 lead with 8 minutes left in the second stanza. The goal is scored by Holman and assisted by Jimmy Bitter. During the score, the Stags Max Buchanan is called for a cross checking penalty and Fairfield will be down a man for one minute. UNC wins the face off and starts their Extra Man Offense (EMO) and takes two shots. Murphy makes the save on the second shot and starts the clear. The ball ends up in the stick of Sam Snow and he puts it home unassisted with 5:57 remaining in the period to tie the game at 3-3. This goal starts a five goal run by the Stags over the next two periods. Roe wins the face off and hits Marshall Johnson with a nice pass and Johnson drives the net and scores unassisted at 5:39 and puts Fairfield in the lead at 4-3. UNC calls timeout to settle the troops and wins the subsequent face off. In its offense effort, UNC takes two wide shots and Murphy makes a save on the third shot and starts the clear. Fairfield Nick Guida scores quickly with an assist from McLinden at 3:01 and puts Fairfield into a 5-3 lead. Roe wins the face off and Fairfield sets up in the offensive end. They take two wide shots but Tristian Sperry scores unassisted on the third shot with 1:36 left in the first half to give the Stags a 6-3 lead. NC’s Keenan wins the face off but they quickly turn the ball over. In the final 90 seconds of the half both teams take one shot and create turnovers and the half ends with the Stags having a 6-3 lead.
The second half starts, the Tarheels make a goal keeper change and bring in Andrew O’Connel to man the pipes. The teams set up their offenses and trade the ball for the next 4 plus minutes as UNC wins the opening half face off. Fairfield’s Pete DeSalvo scoops up a loose ground ball, sets up the clear and the Stags offense strikes quickly with Jordan Greenfield scoring to push the Stags lead to 7-3 at 10:31 in the period. On the goal, NC takes a one minute slashing penalty. Roe wins the face off with Johnson getting the ground ball to set up the EMO for the Stags. The Heels defense kills off the penalty and on a turnover starts a clear into their offensive zone. NC’s Joey Sankey scores with an assist from Greg McBride to cut the Stags lead to 7-4 with 9:18 showing on the clock for the third period. UNC’s Keenan wins the face off and Holman scores 13 seconds later with an assist going to Keenan to now make the game a 7-5 contest. Keenan again wins the face off and now Bitter scores with 8:48 left in the period. The Tarheels now have scored three straight goals in 30 seconds. Coach Copelan has to call a time out to relax and regroup his team. UNC’s Keenan is called for a face off violation but the Stags make a quick turnover and at 7:09 left in the period. UNC’s T.J. Kemp makes a turnover and is called for illegal body check to give Fairfield a one minute man up advantage. In the EMO, the Stags turn the ball over to UNC and the Heels kill the penalty. Fairfield has yet to score an EMO advantage in three games so far this season. NC takes a shot that Murphy saves but Fairfield’s Thomas Lukacovic takes a one minute slashing penalty at the 6:32 mark of the third period. UNC only gets off one shot in the EMO and Murphy makes the save and clears the ball. The Stags Sperry gets the ball and puts it home unassisted to give the Stags an 8-6 lead with 4:24 left in the period. UNC wins the face off and takes a shot after working the ball around but Murphy makes a save. The teams trade turnovers and offensive chance until with 1:19 left in the period the Stags’ defender Lukacovic gets called for 30 second pushing penalty. The Stags quickly kill the EMO by Carolina with a caused turnover and clear the ball. Fairfield runs its offense with an eye to taking a last second shot. Snow takes the shot with 5 seconds left in the period but it is wide of the cage and the period ends with Fairfield in the lead by a score of 8-6.
Another tough close ballgame comes down to the fourth period. Does Fairfield know how to play a game that is not tight and decided by a goal or two? Things start off well for the Stags with Roe winning the 4th quarter face off. After holding the ball and setting up the offense, the Stags turnover the ball and UNC clear attempt fails. A Stags shot goes wide of the net and the Stags turns over the ball and Carolina capitalizes and scores a goal to cut the lead to 8-7 with 10:44 left in the final period. Chad Tutton is credited with the unassisted goal. The Tarheels win the face off and NC’s Bitter takes a shot and Murphy makes the save. The Stags clear is not good and UNC now has the ball. Another Bitter shot that Murphy stops and again the Stags clear is not clean and the Tarheels get the ball back and UNC’s Holman scores his 4th goal of the game unassisted to tie the game at 8-8 with 9:27 left in the game. UNC’s Keenan wins the face off and the Heel’s Shankey gets his second goal of the day unassisted just 39 seconds after Holman had scored to give Carolina a 9-8 lead. Keenan again wins the face off and Keenan takes a high shot that ends with a turnover by NC. Fairfield clears and gets into it offensive set. After a shot by Fairfield’s Sperry that is saved by the Heels’ O’Connell, UNC gets flagged for a 30 second offsides penalty. The Stags have the ball with its EMO set on the field and Nick Guida gets the first extra man goal of the season with an assist from Snow to tie the game at 9-9 with 6:51 left in the game. UNC’s Keenan wins the face off and Carolina gets it offense to work. They are patient and Holman scores his 5th goal of the day assisted by Emala to take a 10-9 lead with 5:46 showing on the clock. The Stags’ Roe wins the face off and in its offense, Fairfield takes a wide shot and Sperry hits a post. UNC’s coach calls a timeout to break the Stags’ momentum. Off the timeout, Snow shoots a high shot but the Fairfield has back up and keeps the ball. Carolina’s defense gets too aggressive and is called for a slashing penalty to be down a man for one minute with 3:14 left in the game. Fairfield’s last EMO effort was successful. Can they do it again? UNC’s O’Connell makes a save off a shot by Sperry and they clear the ball. After holding the ball for almost a minute, UNC commits a turnover and the Stags are successful in clearing the ball. Coach Copelan calls a timeout with 1:14 left in the game to set up the tieing goal. With 38 seconds left in the game, Sperry takes a shot that is saved by UNC’s O’Connell but the Stags’ Greenfield gets the rebound and resets the offense. The Stags do not get any late second shots off and turns the ball over with 1 second remaining in the game.
UNC out shot the Fairfield team by a 39 to 28 margin and won the ground ball war by a 42 to 34 score. UNC’s Keenan and Fairfield’s Roe took all the face offs. Roe won 9 of 22 face offs including being 5 of 10 in the first half and Keenan was successful 13 of 22 attempts. Carolina had 16 of 18 good clears while the Stags only cleared the ball 16 times out of 24 chances. North Carolina was held scoreless in four extra man chances while Fairfield converted one chance of four opportunities. Fairfield’s Murphy made 14 saves on the day while UNC’s O’Connell stopped three shots in the second half while allowing three goals and Burke had four saves and allowed six goals in the first half.
Star of the game for UNC was Marcus Holman with his five goals and one assist for a 6 point day. The Stags’ stars were Nick Guida, Sam Snow and Tristian Sperry with goals. Snow also added an assist to lead the team with three points on the day. Frosh T.J. Neubauer got a goal and assist (I am almost ready to give the Super Frosh mantle to TJ but let’s see how he does in the next couple of games) and last year’s Super Frosh and this year’s Super Sophomore Colin McLinden earned two assists today. Roe picked up five ground balls but Murphy has a team best of eight ground balls. Jordan Greenfield in additon to his one goal got to thee ground balls. Toby Armour got to two ground balls along with Bryan Berry, Nick Guida and Tristian Sperry. Murphy in addition to his 8 ground ball save 14 shots.
Tough loss. Wonder how it will affect the National Rankings and the Stags RPI points. While I was “watching’ the game on line (live stats is a tough way to “watch” a game), I also had on the TV the Maryland and Loyola game. The announcers mentioned that the MD/Loyola game was one of two match ups between the ACC and the ECAC Lacrosse Conference. UNC and Fairfield was the other game and the announcer stated that Fairfield was ahead in the third period. He stated that the ECAC had three nationally ranked teams-Loyola, Denver and Fairfield. Nice mention on National TV for the Stags.
Not much chance to breath as the Stags play at home on Tuesday February 26th at 4 PM against the traditionally tough Hofstra Dutchmen. Last season the Stags and Dutchmen played to triple overtime game. I am planning to attend the game and hope to have the pre game report out on Monday night. Best Regards- Roger Yergeau ’73